This weekend Zoe and I went for a double whammy. We arrived at Epsom, and departed from Ewell. Both are areas that we have an interest in, and they're close enough to combine.
Lets talk about Epsom first.
Getting there is via Waterloo with South Western. Trains are not that frequent on a Saturday (every 30min), and Epsom is outside of Oyster. The ride lasts ~45min. Once there, the station puts you right next to town. There's a Travelodge right outside, and then you're in town in 2min.
The town itself is just OK. It's a relatively modern town, so there's not that much character to it. Traffic was quite heavy. There are several interesting restaurants. We actually struggled to choose, but we ended up going to a tapas place. The food was amazing, and the average portion price was ~£6, and a jug of good Sangria £16.
Once we were done, we decided to walk it to Ewell.
Ewell itself was quite different. It has more character and charm, but parts of it are also somewhat less pedestrian friendly. Especially the walk from the station to the city is challenging, with limited sidewalk space. We didn't spend as much time in town, because we were running out of energy at that point. However, we did see a fair bit of residential, on the other side of the station. The housing we saw, the areas, the green, it all seemed warmer, nicer somewhat. It seemed like a nice place to live. We even spoke to a couple of locals, and indeed everyone was extremely friendly.
The only thing that gave us pause about Ewell was that there were clear signs the area is having problems with break-ins. There were unusually high fences, many featuring "danger of death" signs on them. At least one fence featured broken glass built into its ceiling even.
As mentioned, we started our return journey from Ewell (Ewell West, to be precise). Since it's the same line as Epsom, the same timetable applied. A train ran every 30min.
Overall, we were OK with Epsom, but we quite liked Ewell as a place to live. Our time there was brief, but we covered a fair bit of distance. We don't know what the food situation there is like. However, worst case scenario, Epsom is within spitting distance.